North Shore rugby team heads to France to honour teammate who died

A North Shore rugby team is heading to France to pay tribute to a French student who died while on an exchange in Auckland.

Peyo Crus was just 17 when he was tragically killed in a car crash at Albany in January last year.

His father has spent the past year organising a rugby match in his hometown between his son's French and Auckland teams.

Now his former Long Bay College teammates are travelling halfway around the world to honour their friend.

"He was just so open-minded to everything and was just so bubbly and would light up the room," former Long Bay College rugby player Reece Menzies told Newshub.

Long Bay College rugby coach Ben Thomason said the accident was a "complete shock".

"My heart went out to his family because they were in the air and they landed to the news. I can't imagine what that's like."

Peyo's father, Olivier Crus, was determined to keep his son's memory alive. He travelled to Auckland for a memorial service at Long Bay College and spent the past year organising a match between his son's French and Kiwi teams in his hometown of Chaumont.

His fundraising campaign for the match - dubbed "Live Like Peyo" - has had support from some big names, including rugby great Dan Carter, the All Blacks, national rugby players from France and even the French and New Zealand Prime Ministers.

Nineteen of his former Kiwi teammates flew to France on Saturday for the match.

"This is something that he loved, and to be a part of it, to go back to where he is from, stand on the grounds that he's played on and grown up on, it's putting him to rest," his former coach, Mr Thomason, said.

"I think he'd love it but I think he'd want the French team to take us out - but we'll see, we'll see," Mr Menzies said.

It's hoped the "Live Like Peyo" match will give some closure to his parents and teammates.